Happy New Year! Recently, my brother Jay and I recorded our “Favorite Films of 2019” episode for Saints and Cinema. It is not really a best-of (though we thought the films were pretty good), because we have not seen everything put out last year. We are not the Golden Globes or the Academy Awards or paid film critics. We see a lot of movies, but we are limited (it should go without saying) to what we have time to see.

Who am I? It is the question of the age, in an age where we can so easily address or dress up the answer! We change our bodies like we used to change our wardrobe to fit our feelings. Do not laugh or mock, people are really confused. It is not sin, but the result of being sinners. What is the difference between sex changes and eunuchs, body builders taking steroids, or divorcing your family to marry the one you now love?

Numbers seem to define us. How old are you? How many years of schooling have you done? How tall are you? How fat? How much can you lift? How many calories did you eat? How far away is your house? How many lovers have you had? How many hours does it take to get to mom’s? And of course, how much money have you made, how many true friends do you have, how many years left do you have?

How can a word save you? It can steer away from harm and danger. It can encourage and inspire to do the right thing. It can tell you where to walk and how to live. A word can be a sweet comfort or a stern warning. It can speak of truth in a world of darkness. A word can speak of salvation, if only you can grasp it.

Somehow A Charlie Brown Christmas still hits home. After watching it for the 5 millionth time I realized I was Charlie Brown! I used to enjoy the popular Christmas special’s take on the commercialization of Christmas. Amazingly, the same complaints of Charlie Brown’s gang ring true today. “It’s too commercial,” we still cry. In fact, this was one of the complaints of the puritans in the 17th century causing them to ban Christmas celebrations in favor of working on the holiday.

Can you believe that we are just a few short days away from the celebration of Christmas? For children this is a time of incredible anticipation and excitement. I can still remember those final days, when your mind raced with the possibilities of what might be wrapped up under the tree, or what Santa would bring in the stocking hung by the chimney with care. Would it be what you had hoped for, what you left notes and hints about? Only time would tell, and the excitement was part of the joy, part of the magic and wonder accompanying this special time of the year. There is so much about Christmas to celebrate and rejoice in.

Anxiety is really starting to piss me off. My anxiety always makes me mad, but I’ve begun to train myself with the question, “What does it matter?” Since the answer is usually, “It doesn’t matter at all, so jog on…” But it’s other people’s anxiety that has begun to piss me off too. Now, I don’t yell at those dealing with it, like “GET OVER IT ALREADY!” No, that is neither Christ like, and usually the anxious person’s anxiety is usually increased, and does nobody any good. It’s counter productive.